Introducing the Westminster Foodbank…
Yesterday (Tuesday 22nd November), we gathered a group of important people to mark the official opening of our Foodbank. Run in conjunction with the Trussell Trust, the Foodbank will provide emergency food parcels to Westminster’s poorest families. You can read the press release we issued here.
Our Foodbank is hosted in our church building, and is staffed entirely by volunteers from our membership base.
Speaking at the launch, Councillor Colin Barrow, Leader of Westminster City Council, said, “It’s great to see our community pulling together as one to make a real difference to the lives of struggling families. We are constantly working to give Westminster residents that extra helping hand, and we know, with the winter months approaching, this Foodbank will play a pivotal role in providing for those most at risk.”
John Glen MP, Member of Parliament for Salisbury, where the Trussell Trust was founded said, “I have huge
admiration for the work of the Trussell Trust, and I’m delighted to see this newest Foodbank opening in Westminster. This new service will be invaluable in helping people through some extremely difficult times, and I encourage local people to donate food generously to the Foodbank as others are doing across the country.”
Why do we need a Foodbank, and how do they work?
Clients are referred to Foodbanks for a variety of reasons including redundancy, benefit delay, low income, ill health, domestic abuse, benefit reductions and debt. Food bags contain three days of nutritionally balanced, non-perishable foods such as tinned fruit, vegetables, meat and fish as well as pasta, cereal,UHT milk, sauces, tea, long-life juice.
Foodbank clients can receive a maximum of three Foodbank vouchers in a row (each voucher can be redeemed for at least three days food). Clients can receive up to nine vouchers per year, although longer term support is available in exceptional circumstances.
Where do we get the food from?
The Foodbank store cupboards sit in specially-converted rooms in the church, and over the past two months, volunteers, members of the public and local schools have helped to fill these rooms with enough food to officially open the Foodbank.
On October 1st, a team of volunteers spent a day collecting outside Sainsbury’s Market in Pimlico, receiving over 628 kilograms of food from members of the public! Thank you to all who gave so generously – look out for us next time you do your Saturday grocery shop!
Sainsbury’s Store Manager, Justin Sheppard said, “Sainsbury’s is delighted to be partnering with the Westminster Foodbank. We’ve been thrilled with the generosity of our shoppers and their willingness to get involved. We think the Foodbank is a fantastic initiative, and one which we will continue to support as part of our commitment to making a positive difference to our community.”
Donations have also been received from: Buckaroochies Parent & Toddler Group, St Vincent’s Primary School, Burdett-Coutts Primary School, Methodist Central Hall, All Souls Clubhouse, as well as Westminster Chapel members.
Thanks to all who have made the Foodbank happen! Particularly Clare Gardner, our Foodbank Manager, who has given up many hours to bring this idea to completion; Andy Coleman, our Intern, who has donated a whole year to work as a volunteer for this project (among others); and Luke Boardman, the mastermind behind our supermarket collections. We are so excited about how God is going to use this initiative to impact our community with His love and goodness.